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Helical Piers and Renewable Energy - A Perfect Match

Battery energy storage systems, solar panels, wind farms, microgrids, it all has to be supported on something. Meet the unique foundation solution that's making renewable energy projects faster, safer, and more economical.

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Why Use a Helical Pier Foundation for Your Renewable Project?

Helical piers have existed for almost two centuries, supporting everything from lighthouses to massive solar farms.
Helical piers work on a simple and efficient concept. Instead of excavating piles of dirt to pour concrete or violently pounding a pile into the ground, helical piers rotate smoothly and quietly down into the soil.
A helical pier may not look like something that can support over 500,000lbs of axial load, but it certainly can (and beyond).
The narrow shaft of a helical pier distributes the load from the structure above ground to the helix plates below ground. These helix plates anchor in firm layers of soil, and the resistance of the soil on the helix plates gives the helical pier high compression and tension capacities.
Due to their high axial and tension capacity, faster installation, and economy, renewable energy projects like battery energy storage systems in Texas and across the U.S. are using helical pier foundations.

━ A SMART FOUNDATION FOR SMART ENERGY

What's the benefit of helical pier foundations for renewable energy?

Because of the unique design a helical pier can be installed faster and easier while offering often better support than h-piles or concrete.

With a helical pier, there’s no displacement to the soil. No extensive excavations or spoils to haul away. No waiting for concrete to cure. No endless truck loads of heavy pile-driving or concrete-pouring equipment.

    Faster, hassle-free installation
    Outstanding resistance to foundation failure from expansive soils
    Excellent protection against frost-heave in cold climates
    Extremely long-life and high performance
    Can be customized to support (practically) any renewable energy project
    Can be installed in almost any weather
    Ready to load immediately after install – no curing time
    Engineered to match exact soil conditions
    More environmentally-friendly than concrete, suitable for sensitive sites

Where are helical piers used in renewable energy?

Helical piers are a highly adaptable and versatile foundation. You’ll find them supporting a shocking range of renewable projects in some of the toughest environments imaginable.
Every sector of commercial and industrial construction has found helical piers to be a reliable, strong, and affordable foundation solution.

Battery Energy Storage Systems

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Energy Storage Systems are used to store energy from renewable sources, like solar or wind. These massive battery banks can weigh in at well over 50,000lbs and are critical infrastructure, so it's vital they have the right support. Helical piers have huge capacity, install faster than h-piles, and create zero mess. An easy choice for the foundation demands of energy storage.

Transmission & Distribution

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All the power that's generated by renewable energy has to be carried on power lines and distributed through sub-stations. The versatility of helical piers means you can use them for massive power lines in remote locations or compact micro-grids in urban centers. An entire substation foundation can be installed in a matter of days and is ready to use immediately.  

Wind Farms

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Wind turbines are an increasingly common sight across America, especially on the plains where a breeze is always plentiful. A windmill foundation experiences enormous loading forces, which has typically meant excavating a huge hole and pouring concrete in it. Helical piers can greatly reduce the excavation and concrete required to safely secure a wind turbine, meaning you can finish sooner with less mess to clean up.

Solar Farms

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Solar panel foundations have to withstand weather, wind, climate, and even seismic forces as they silently generate electricity sunrise-to-sunset. Typical poured or driven foundation solutions can tear up the jobsite, create mess, cause delays, and generally be a pain. Helical piers turn smoothly into the ground with no disturbance and provide outstanding support in a compact package.

Reduce Your C02 Emissions With Helical Piers

>500%

Decrease your per-pier C02 emissions by over 500% and drastically reduce your project's impact on the environment

>900%

Less raw material used in the manufacture of a helical pier foundation compared to a cast concrete solution

>70%

The amount of steel (which helical piers are made from) in North America produced using recycled steel to lower C02 emissions

100%

Your helical pier foundation can be easily removed and completely recycled at the end of its life, leaving zero trace behind

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How Long Will a Helical Pier Foundation Last?

Helical piers can last an extremely long time depending on the soil, climate, and quality of installation. Considering lighthouses like the Carysfort Reef lighthouse (pictured) have stood on helical piers for 170 years, it's safe to say that a modern helical foundation could far outlive even your grandchildren.

Helical Piers vs. H-Piles vs. Concrete Piers


    • Helical Piers

    • H-Piles

    • Concrete Piers



    • Helical Piers

    • Helical Piers

    • H-Piles

    • H-Piles

    • Concrete Piers

    • Concrete Piers

    • Highly durable construction that's resistant to damage


    • Highly durable construction that's resistant to damage

    • Helical Piers

    • H-Piles

    • Concrete Piers

    • Extremely long service life (more than 100 years, per soil conditions)


    • Extremely long service life (more than 100 years, per soil conditions)

    • Helical Piers

    • H-Piles

    • Concrete Piers

    • Made in sections so even foundations 100ft deep or more can be transported on semi-trailer

    • N/A


    • Made in sections so even foundations 100ft deep or more can be transported on semi-trailer

    • Helical Piers

    • H-Piles

    • Concrete Piers

    • N/A

    • Ready for loading immediately after installation


    • Ready for loading immediately after installation

    • Helical Piers

    • H-Piles

    • Concrete Piers

    • Installs with virtually zero vibrations, excavation, disturbance, or noise


    • Installs with virtually zero vibrations, excavation, disturbance, or noise

    • Helical Piers

    • H-Piles

    • Concrete Piers

    • Can be easily removed from the ground


    • Can be easily removed from the ground

    • Helical Piers

    • H-Piles

    • Concrete Piers

    • Can be re-used after removal from ground (per engineer inspection)


    • Can be re-used after removal from ground (per engineer inspection)

    • Helical Piers

    • H-Piles

    • Concrete Piers

    • Installation equipment is minimal and leaves no impact to the site


    • Installation equipment is minimal and leaves no impact to the site

    • Helical Piers

    • H-Piles

    • Concrete Piers

    • Comparatively lightweight and easy to transport


    • Comparatively lightweight and easy to transport

    • Helical Piers

    • H-Piles

    • Concrete Piers

  • Article: Are Helical Piers The Best Foundation for Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS)? 

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    As the United States generates more power from renewable sources like wind, solar, and hydroelectric, our grid needs a reliable place to store that power. Energy storage systems are the answer, and helical piers are the ideal foundation solution.

FAQ: Helical Pier Foundations for Renewable Energy

  • Can my *insert project here* use helical piers?

    Maybe! In order for us to tell you whether or not helical piers will work for your project, we need to understand your unique needs and challenges.
    No two projects are alike. Before we can tell you if helical piers will (or won't) work for you, our team of experts will need to have a chat and take a look at your project first. 
    Good news is, we're always happy to chat! Scroll down to find our contact info and get in touch.

  • Are helical piers strong enough for large-scale renewable projects?

    Absolutely. Helical piers aren't a "fringe technology", they're a tried-and-true foundation solution that's been supporting structures in the toughest conditions since the early 1830's. 
    In fact, there's lighthouses over 140 years old that are still standing on wrought-iron helical piers! With the advanced materials and installation methods we have today, a helical pier foundation can comfortable support a structure of 1,000,000lbs and beyond.

  • Do I need special permits to use a helical pier foundation?

    In most areas of the United States, helical piers are recognized as a valid (and desirable) deep-foundation solution. Chances are excellent you won't have any issues having a helical pier solution approved for your project.
    However, in the rare instance you do run into problems, our team is outstanding at helping helical foundations receive engineering approval. Get in touch with us if you'd like to know more.

  • How long does it take to install a helical pier foundation?

    There's many factors that influence how long it takes to install a helical pier. The type of structure you're building, conditions at your site, configuration of the foundation, and so on. 
    On average however, helical piers will be faster than driven piers and much faster than cast concrete.

  • How do I get a foundation for my renewable project?

    It's easy! Get in touch with our team of foundation experts using the form below. We make getting a durable and long-lasting foundation for your renewable energy project a breeze from start to finish.

Proudly American, Proudly Serving the Lower 48

S&B Helical works in all of the 48 contiguous states in America. Through swamps, deserts, frozen tundra, rocky mountains, and open plains, our determined team of foundation experts install foundations anywhere.

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Let's Talk About Your Renewable Project

The best place to start is with a friendly chat. Get in touch and tell us about your project. We'll help you discover if helical piers are right for you

Office Hours

Monday - Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM

Contact

1 (281) 825-2221moc.lacilehbs%40selas

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